This week Google enabled “Call Phone” in the Chat feature in GMail. It’s sweet.
It’s like Skype lite in your GMail. Video calls – check. VOIP to landline – check.
Sure, 5 way 10-way conference calling is missing (for now), but the potential threat this presents to industry leader Skype reaches beyond the free North American calling introduction.
First, there is the integration into GMail, making your Google contact list instantly available. That’s over 170 million adopters out of the gates. Not bad.
Certainly Google can match Skype feature for feature in the near future. If it comes to a price war, Google has deep pockets. Google has brand recognition. What more does it need?
Google’s biggest future advantage – transcripts
Google has been constantly improving it’s voice transcript features. Google Voice has voicemail to text and YouTube features automatic subtitle transcripts now. For Google more index-able content is the true goal. The better able search results can be measured as relevant, the longer Google can dominate search online.
The possibility of a future feature to transcribe conversations through Google Voice calls would make this a killer choice vs Skype. Imagine conducting interviews or research calls using, especially conference calls, and having each caller tagged by source and a full transcript email at the end of the call. That would be enough for me to choose Google over almost any phone service.